The global problem is obesity. Why is it so dangerous?

Last updated date: 08-Oct-2021

CloudHospitalGeneral HealthObesity
CloudHospital

4 mins read

There is a silent killer that is often overlooked as it does not present an immediate problem. While many have it, often it is simply seen as a cosmetic issue by many. But it has many implications and often affects the body negatively and causes many issues. The problem is obesity. Obesity means having far too much body fat. It is about much more than physical appearance and clothing sizes. It can seriously affect your health in numerous ways. The obesity epidemic is actually a worldwide pandemic that has global implications for health and disease as many studies show.

In one of the largest studies ever to examine obesity rates across the globe by researcher Beverley Balkau, PhD, of the French health service INSERM found that more than 60% of men and 50% of women were either overweight or obese. She concluded that obesity is a growing problem in all regions of the world, even among traditionally lean Asian populations. The study involved 69,409 men and 98,750 women from 63 countries across five continents evaluated by their primary care doctors for body weight, height, cardiovascular disease (heart disease or stroke), diabetes, and waist circumference. The USA was not included in the study, which could have further reinforced the data as the USA is also severely affected by obesity, according to the CDC.

Obesity adversely affects many body parts and functions, from your joints to your heart, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other systems. The extra fat cells produce inflammation and various hormones, which boosts your odds of chronic diseases.

Waist circumference is now considered an important marker of obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Measuring your waist is a good way to check you are not carrying too much fat around your stomach, which can raise your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. You can have a healthy BMI and still have excess tummy fat, meaning you're still at risk of developing these conditions, according to the NHS. In measuring obesity, BMI (Body Mass Index) is calculated as follows:

BMI is calculated using a person's height and weight. The formula is BMI = kg/m2 where kg is a person's weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in meters squared. A BMI of 25.0 or more is overweight, while the healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9.

To measure your waist:

    Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.

    Wrap a tape measure around your waist midway between these points.

    Breathe out naturally before taking the measurement.

Regardless of your height or BMI, you should try to lose weight if your waist is:

    94cm (37ins) or more for men

    80cm (31.5ins) or more for women

You are at very high risk and should contact a GP if your waist is:

    102cm (40ins) or more for men

    88cm (34ins) or more for women

Obesity is a problem not only in adults but also in children nowadays. The modern age is conducive to a sedentary lifestyle. Kids these days play less outdoors and stay indoors more often than in prior decades. Many kids play video games sitting down for hours while the intake of rich in calories foods are now very common throughout the world as processed foods are the norm. Too many consume fried and processed foods and foods high in carbohydrates relative to protein and fibers from vegetables results in a young population in which many are prone to obesity.

For children and young people aged under 18, the BMI calculator considers age and gender as well as height and weight. Overweight children are thought to be at increased risk of a variety of health conditions just like adults. They are also more likely to be overweight as adults.

The BMI calculator works out if a child or young person is:

    underweight – on the 2nd centile or below

    healthy weight – between the 2nd and 91st centiles

    overweight – 91st centile or above

    very overweight – 98th centile or above

A child's BMI is expressed as a "centile" to show how their BMI compares with children who took part in national surveys. For example, a girl on the 75th centile is heavier than 75 out of 100 other girls her age.

For children, measuring waist size is not normally recommended for children because it does not take their height into account. See a family doctor if you are concerned about your child's weight. They may be able to recommend activities and lifestyle changes to help fix the situation. Catching the problem early is the best solution as it may become a habit (i.e. the lifestyle that led to the condition) and become more difficult to change as the child ages.

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